The Garden of Eden, the Ancient Temple, and Receiving a New Name

By Alex Douglas

Alex Douglas, “The Garden of Eden, the Ancient Temple, and Receiving a New Name,” in Ascending the Mountain of the Lord: Temple, Praise, and Worship in the Old Testament (2013 Sperry Symposium), ed. Jeffrey R. Chadwick, Matthew J. Grey, and David Rolph Seely (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2013), 36–48.

The Garden of Eden, the Ancient Temple, and Receiving a New Name

Alex Douglas


Alex Douglas is a PhD student in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament at Harvard University.


The concept of ritual renaming holds special significance within Latter-day Saint theology; Church authorities, including Joseph Smith, have taught that worthy individuals are given a new name in the presence of God and that this name is sacred. [1] As Latter-day Saints looking back at ancient history, we understand the Old Testament and its temple ordinances according to these teachings, yet when we examine the scriptures, the record is practically silent regarding temple renaming. [2] In taking together the teachings of Latter-day Saint leaders and the lack of strong biblical witnesses, we are faced with two possibilities. First, perhaps ritual renaming did take place in the temple and knowledge of this practice was lost over time. As is discussed below, there is still much that scholars do not know about the temple, and we would not be the first to attempt to reconstruct ancient practice from subtle references in the Bible. The second possibility is that ritual renaming never took place in Old Testament times. From a theological standpoint, little is lost by such an admission; after all, Joseph Smith often claimed to reveal doctrine that had never before been known.

This paper is not an attempt to prove that ritual renaming took place in the ancient world. Rather, it is an exploration of the biblical witnesses from a Latter-day Saint point of view.  It examines indications within the Bible itself that ritual renaming could have been performed, and it imagines how such a ritual might look and how it fits into what we know of ancient temple practice. In both areas, modern revelation invites us to make connections and see beyond a minimalist approach to the text, while sound methodology prevents us from drawing definite conclusions beyond what is attested in the sources. Our reconstruction of these rituals must be hypothetical, but hypothetical reconstructions can still be informative as we view latter-day ideas through the lens of early scripture. Occasional allusion is made in the Old Testament to receiving a new name in connection with the temple. Furthermore, details from the temple’s construction, later extrabiblical interpretation, and parallel ancient Near Eastern sources show how the temple was patterned after the Creation and the Garden of Eden; using this connection—and through a close examination of the Creation story—we can see more clearly how ritual renaming might have functioned in the Old Testament temple, if indeed it was performed at all.

Understanding the Ancient Temple

Before we begin, let us first consider what we know of the ancient temple, as well as what constitutes valid evidence in reconstructing what we do not know. In some areas our knowledge is extensive, particularly where the Pentateuch specifies how an ordinance should be performed. Yet it is equally clear that the early temple descriptions leave out many details; for example, while we know that Israelites gathered at the temple for major festivals, scholars still know relatively little of how people participated in these festivals in the preexilic period.

To flesh out this picture, scholars turn to a number of sources. First, they turn to indirect evidence within the Bible, such as psalms that seem to have been used in temple ritual. [3] Books such as Samuel and Ezekiel describe events that take place in the temple, and later pseudepigraphic writers—often writing in the centuries around Christ—provide another view. Finally, rabbinic evidence such as the Mishnah can also be used. Each of these sources must be used with caution. Many authors wrote well after the Second Temple was destroyed, and many may have shaped their descriptions to fit their own views. Allusions within the Bible are equally problematic, for if we use allusion to reconstruct temple ritual, we are liable to overread our sources and find evidence for ritual that may not have existed. All of the sources mentioned above can be helpful, however, in identifying ancient attitudes toward the temple, and when used carefully, they can help us understand aspects of temple worship that might otherwise be obscure in the biblical text. With these limitations in mind, let us now turn to the evidence for ritual renaming.

Allusions to Ritual Renaming

One of the first references in the Old Testament to ritual renaming comes in Isaiah 56:5. In this passage, the Lord speaks of foreigners and eunuchs—people who were typically excluded from temple service—and he says that in the last days, “unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.” True to Isaiah’s style, almost everything in this passage could be interpreted in multiple ways, [4] but it is interesting to note the imagery by which the people’s reversal of fortune is conveyed. Not only will the Lord give them “an everlasting name,” but he explicitly says that he will do so in the temple.

Six chapters later, the prophet turns his attention to Jerusalem. During the Babylonian captivity, the land of Israel was humiliated, suffering a similar fate to the foreigners and eunuchs, and according to Isaiah 62:4, Jerusalem was called Forsaken (ʿăzûbā) and Desolate (šǝmāmā). When the Lord restores his people, he tells Jerusalem, “thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name” (Isaiah 62:2). In this restoration, the holy city is given the name Married (bǝʿûlā) and My Delight is in Her (ḥepṣî-bāh). Like the eunuchs, Jerusalem experiences a reversal of fortune, and along with this new reality the city is given a new name that embodies these hopes and expectations. In the ancient world, the giving of new names in such situations was not uncommon; in fact, according to John McKenzie, a new life situation “demanded a new name in order that it be recognized as new.” [5] At the end of Isaiah this theme appears again when the prophet says that the Lord will destroy the wicked but will “call his servants by another name” (Isaiah 65:15).

In Numbers 6:27 the Lord tells the priests how they are to bless the Israelites, and after revealing the blessing, the Lord says, “And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel.” Here the Lord puts his own name upon the Israelites rather than an individual name, but the underlying concept of bestowing a name upon the worshipper is similar. Further, the bestowal of a new name is here tied to the priests, unlike in the Isaiah passages. If this did take place at the temple, it also serves as a striking parallel to King Benjamin, who gathered the people to the temple to bestow the name of Christ on them (see Mosiah 5:6–11).

While these verses are certainly suggestive from a Latter-day Saint point of view, it bears repeating that they are merely allusions, and they are imperfect parallels to the idea of individual renaming outlined by Joseph Smith. In both Numbers and Isaiah, names are conferred upon a city and upon the larger Israelite community, but nothing is said of individuals. Further, it is unclear how literally these names were understood—after all, today we do not call Jerusalem “My Delight is in Her.” What then can these verses tell us? The references above show that Isaiah could draw upon imagery of the Lord granting new names to individuals within the temple, whether or not such temple renaming actually took place. The passage from Numbers shows that the idea of priests putting a name (“the Lord”) on the Israelites was not a foreign concept, even though it tells us nothing of how or why this was carried out. In short, these passages are suggestive, but on their own they offer only loose support for the Latter-day Saint concept of ritual renaming. To better understand temple renaming, we must turn to other sources from the Bible.

The Temple and the Garden of Eden

The stories of the Creation and the Garden of Eden are some of the best sources we have for understanding the ancient temple. [6] The temple was viewed as a model of the cosmos, [7] and we can clearly see both Eden’s paradisiacal state and the creation of the world reflected in its construction. In fact, much in the temple was designed to emulate and recreate the Garden of Eden for Israelite worshippers. For example, the interior of the temple was made entirely of cedar, and as Solomon decorated the walls, the Bible tells us that “he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, within and without” (1 Kings 6:29). The palm trees and flowers alone would conjure images of Eden, but the cherubim make the reference certain; in fact, outside of the temple and God’s throne, Eden is the only other place in the Bible where cherubim appear.

The items within the temple were also decorated to represent a garden. The two great pillars leading to the inner court were adorned with lilies, and they were decorated as two large trees, being covered with two-hundred pomegranates each (see 1 Kings 7:19–20). Just as the pillars, the golden menorah in the sanctuary was envisioned as a tree, and in its description we hear that it had “branches,” “flowers,” and “bowls made like unto almonds” (Exodus 25:31–33). Ten similar lampstands lined the sides of the inner sanctuary (see 1 Kings 7:49), and with each modeled as a tree, the effect must have been similar to walking into a forest. [8]

The ancient Israelites were well aware that the temple appeared as a garden. According to one legend, the prophet Zechariah had a vision where he saw a man “standing among the trees of the tabernacle,” [9] an image no doubt conjured by the pillars and lampstands of the main hall. Similarly the psalmist says of the righteous: “like the palm tree . . . they are planted in the house of the Lord” (Psalm 92:12–13). Further reinforcing the impression of a garden scene were the animals depicted throughout the sanctuary. Washbasins covered with “lions, oxen, and cherubims” (1 Kings 7:29) could be found within the temple, and the great bronze laver stood on twelve oxen and was decorated “with flowers of lilies” (1 Kings 7:25–26).

The temple was not modeled after just any garden; it was meant to represent Eden, and many of the characters from the Eden story appear in Solomon’s temple. In Eden, cherubim were placed to guard the way to the tree of life, and in the temple, two giant cherubim—each fifteen feet tall—guarded the entrance to the Holy of Holies (see 1 Kings 6:23–28). The priest in the temple represented Adam (see below), and even the serpent makes an appearance. In 2 Kings 18:4 we learn that the bronze serpent made by Moses in the wilderness had been incorporated into Israelite worship (though the righteous king Hezekiah opposed this practice). [10]

Further tying the temple to the Creation story is the way the temple’s construction is narrated. When the tabernacle is built under Moses, the narrative shows many verbal parallels to the Genesis account of the Creation. Mention of the “spirit of God” (rûaḥ ʾĕlōhîm) begins the creation of the world and the tabernacle; Moses and God “see all the work” done; and after they “complete the work,” they provide a blessing (compare Genesis 1:2; 1:31; 2:2; 2:3 with Exodus 31:3; 39:43; 40:33; 39:43, respectively). [11] In imitation of the seven-day division of creation, Moses enters God’s presence on the seventh day of being on Sinai, he is given seven sets of instructions on the tabernacle, and the construction narrative is divided by seven refrains of “as the Lord commanded Moses” (see Exodus 24:16; 25:1; 30:11–24; 31:1, 12; 40:19–32). [12] Construction of Solomon’s Temple follows a similar pattern. It was created in seven years, its dedication took place at a seven-day festival in the seventh month, and Solomon’s dedicatory prayer centered around seven major petitions (see 1 Kings 6:38; 8:2, 31–53). [13] In short, the temple was a microcosm in the truest sense of the word, and the biblical author went to great lengths to show the thematic ties linking the temple back to the stories in Genesis 1–3.

The connection between Eden and the temple, while striking when we look at the temple decorations, also runs much deeper. For example, the temple is frequently described as being on top of a mountain. It is called “mount Zion” (Isaiah 8:18), “the mountain of the Lord’s house” (Isaiah 2:2), or “the mountain of [the Lord’s] inheritance” (Exodus 15:17). [14] The image of a mountain conveyed proximity to God, and “In cultures which have a heaven, earth, and hell, the mountain ‘center’ is the axis along which these three cosmic areas are connected and where communion between them becomes possible.” [15] Mountains and temples were so closely intertwined that the line between them often blurred, [16] and it is thus telling that when Ezekiel describes the Garden of Eden, he places it on a mountain, just as the temple. According to Ezekiel 28:13–14, “Eden the garden of God” is located “upon the holy mountain of God.”

Eden was a temple where the presence of God dwelled.

Consistent with the mountain imagery associated with Eden and the temple, both are also the source of rivers that flow out and provide life to the surrounding area. Eden’s river divided into four heads: the Tigris, Euphrates, Pison, and Gihon. As for the temple, its source of water was the Gihon, a spring that shared the name of the river mentioned in Eden (see 1 Kings 1:43–46), and the restored millennial temple is also pictured with a river flowing out from its base to water the earth (see Ezekiel 47:1–12; Zechariah 14:3–8; Joel 3:16–18).

Adam as a Priest

Eden was symbolically recreated in the temple’s creation, in its position as a sanctuary, and even in its decorations. As mentioned above, many of the characters from the Eden story were also represented in the temple, and Adam was represented by the priest. This can be seen in the role both play in their respective sanctuaries, their clothing, and the activities they performed.

In the temple, priests performed a double role as mediators between God and humans. First they represented the people before God. In everything from individual offerings to national catastrophes, the priest stood before God in place of the individuals to make intercession on their behalf. On the other hand, priests also represented God before the people. When an individual needed to go before the Lord, it was the priest who stood in the Lord’s place and delivered his messages, as can be seen in Deuteronomy 19:17 or 1 Samuel 1:17.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam is likewise depicted as a representative of both God and man. He is the quintessential man, as implied by his name, ʾādām  (‘man’ in Hebrew). His role in the Eden story is an embodiment of the human race, and his journey from innocence to transgression can be seen in all of our lives. Yet while Adam is clearly a symbol of humanity, he is just as clearly depicted as a symbol of God. He is the image and likeness of his creator, and like God, he is charged to “have dominion . . . over all the earth” (Genesis 1:26). In the broader Near Eastern context, his very presence in the garden was a further reminder of his role as God’s representative: “Ancient kings would set up images of themselves in distant lands over which they ruled in order to represent their sovereign presence . . . Likewise, Adam was created as the image of the divine king to indicate that earth was ruled over by Yahweh.” [17]

In ancient sources outside of Genesis, Adam is also depicted wearing priestly garments. In prophesying of the downfall of the king of Tyre, Ezekiel compares this king to an Adam figure who has been cast out of Eden. He says, “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold” (Ezekiel 28:13; emphasis added). This is no mere list of precious stones; each one of the stones mentioned is also found on the high priest’s breastplate (see Exodus 28:17–20). [18] A less overt comparison can be seen in Genesis Rabbah, a collection of ancient rabbinic commentary. Here it is stated that Adam was clothed in garments of light “which were like a torch [shedding radiance.]” [19] This is reminiscent of the holiness ascribed to the priests’ clothing, and later biblical authors likewise describe priests as “clothed with salvation” (2 Chronicles 6:41) and “clothed with righteousness” (Psalm 132:9). Extrabiblical accounts also speak of priests clothed in “a holy and glorious vestment.” [20]

Even the language used to describe Adam’s work in the Garden of Eden is the same language used of priests for their service in the temple. Priests are charged primarily with guarding and keeping the sanctuary, as in Numbers 3:7, where the priests are to guard (šmr) the charge of the sanctuary and keep (ʿbd) its service. When Adam is put in Eden, his primary responsibility is likewise to guard (šmr) and keep (ʿbd) it, as Genesis 2:15 tells us. With only a few exceptions, these two Hebrew roots are used together exclusively in reference to Adam and the priests in their duties to their respective sanctuaries. [21]

In accounts of Adam and Eve that occur outside the Bible, other authors also made the connection between Adam and priest. In the pseudepigraphic work Life of Adam and Eve, Adam is shown collecting incense to burn as an offering to God (an activity that was strictly reserved for priests), [22] and in the Book of Moses he is shown performing sacrifice (see Moses 5:5–6). [23] Rabbinic tradition holds that the dust used to create Adam was taken from the site of the future temple, [24] and in the Life of Adam and Eve, the author claims that Solomon built the temple on the site where Adam used to pray. [25]

Both within and without the Bible, Eden is presented as a type of temple where God’s presence dwells, and in this temple Adam is depicted as a priest. But given the intimate connection between these two spheres, it would be insufficient to say that the temple was a “representation” of Eden, or even that it was a “recreation” of it. In the ancient mind, the temple was the Garden of Eden, and Eden was the world’s first temple. In Jerusalem, the temple served as “a survival of the primal paradise lost to the profane world . . . It connects the protological and the eschatological, the primal and the final, preserving Eden and providing a taste of the life of intimacy with God.” [26] Having established the connection between Eden and temple, as well as between Adam and priest, we can now look at how naming is used in the creation stories to understand how ritual renaming might have functioned in the ancient temple.

Naming in the Creation Accounts

Naming plays a central role in both the initial account of the Creation and the story of the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 1, God’s creative actions are recounted in extremely minimalistic fashion, and his works are described in a matter-of-fact tone. In the entire chapter there are only eight verbs used in connection with him: he creates (brʾ), sees (rʾh), forms (ʿśh), sets (ntn), speaks (ʾmr), blesses (brk), and divides (bdl), and within this sparse description, he names (qrʾ) a total of five times. It is not enough for God to create the light or the firmament; he must name them for his creation to be considered complete.

This conferral of names is no trivial matter, nor is it simply an afterthought to the Creation story. As Porter and Ricks show, “In the cultures of the ancient Near East, existence was thought to be dependent upon an identifying word, that word being a ‘name.’ The name of someone (or something) was perceived not as a mere abstraction, but as a real entity, ‘the audible and spoken image of the person . . . his spiritual essence.’” [27] Names were thought to be a central part of existence, [28] and thus it comes as no surprise that naming plays a major role in Genesis 1.

In Genesis 2, Adam continues God’s work by naming the animals. Aside from the well-known commandment about the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Adam’s responsibilities in Eden were twofold: he was to guard and keep the garden (just as the priests do for the temple) and give names to the animals. In both of these tasks Adam stands in God’s place as his representative, doing the work that God would otherwise do. Adam was created in the image of God, and just as God confers names, so Adam does as well in a type of imitatio dei.

There are three scenes in the Eden story that are particularly suggestive in regard to temple naming. The first is when God “formed every beast of the field . . . and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof” (Genesis 2:19). In this verse, Adam does not move about the garden; rather, God brings each creature and presents it before Adam, and he has given Adam the authority to declare what the creature’s name should be. This type of presentation before God’s representative lies at the heart of temple worship, [29] and in fact all the Israelites were commanded to “come to appear before the Lord . . . in the place which he shall choose [in other words, the temple]” at the end of every seven years (Deuteronomy 31:10–11). [30] The parallel of the animals appearing before Adam at the end of the seven-day creation is striking. [31]

In the next scene, woman is created, and just as the animals are brought, so the Lord “brought her before the man” (Genesis 2:22). To read the Eden story as a temple account, the woman is here presented before the priest. When Adam confers a name upon her, we learn that this name is highly significant, and by playing on the Hebrew root, it indicates both the woman’s origin and her destiny: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman (ʾiššā), because she was taken out of Man (ʾîš). Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife (ʾištô): and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:23–24).

After the man and woman partook of the forbidden fruit, they were cast out of the garden. God pronounced curses upon them both, and included in the statement of the woman’s curse was the promise that she would bear children (see Genesis 3:16). Expulsion from Eden and childbirth marked a new beginning in the woman’s life, and along with this change she received a new name. Like the first name, this name was also given by Adam, and the name was meaningful to her new situation. Genesis 3:20 reads, “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve (ḥawwā); because she was the mother of all living (ḥāy).” [32]

What This Means for the Temple

As we have seen, there are numerous connections between the temple and the Garden of Eden, and there are many ways we can interpret these parallels. It is clear that the temple was meant to recreate Eden within Israel. Garden imagery abounded in the temple: palm trees, lilies, pomegranates, flowers, lions, and oxen were represented everywhere, and the branches of the golden lampstands would have created a virtual forest within the hêkāl (“the Holy Place”). The bronze serpent could be seen within the temple precincts, and the Holy of Holies—the ultimate source of life—was guarded by two giant cherubim. In this garden temple would have stood the priest, representing both God and man as Adam does in Eden.

What is less clear, however, is how naming functioned within this temple. If the Genesis account is indicative of temple practice, then perhaps we might imagine a worshipper symbolically approaching Eden by coming to the temple. It is possible that the Lord’s command to the priests to “put my name upon the children of Israel” (Numbers 6:27) corresponds to Adam’s conferring a name upon the animals and upon Eve. In this case, rather than an individual name, here the worshipper would symbolically take upon himself the name of the Lord. If such a ritual did take place in the temple, it would be fitting for Isaiah to draw upon this imagery in telling the people that the Lord would give them “in mine house and within my walls a place and . . . an everlasting name” (Isaiah 56:5), and that they would “be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name” (Isaiah 62:2).

On the other hand, it is possible that the Eden account is not a description of temple ordinances. Reconstructing ancient temple practice is a tenuous endeavor, and it is made all the more so by the nature of the sources available. The Bible is a complex work, and much of the evidence presented here has been circumstantial. But when we approach the evidence with these limitations in mind, we can at least speak of possibilities.

The evidence of Genesis 1–3, taken together with the references to renaming found elsewhere in the Old Testament, does leave open the possibility that such a ritual took place. Ritual renaming would fit nicely with what we know of the ancient temple. Names held great significance in antiquity; a name was thought to embody who a person was and what the future might hold. If such renaming did take place in the ancient world, it should come as no surprise that this work be carried out by God’s representatives and in his house.


[1] See, for example, Kent P. Jackson, comp., Joseph Smith’s Commentary on the Bible (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1994), 219, and Victor Ludlow, “John: The Once and Future Witness,” Ensign, December 1991, 55.

[2] In this paper, I describe the conferral of a new name as “ritual renaming.” Although there are problems with equating these two ideas (discussed below), this paper uses “ritual renaming” rather than using a qualified expression. Although mention will be made of the tabernacle and the Second Temple, this paper focuses on Solomon’s Temple as the locus for renaming.

[3] For example, see Sigmund Mowinckel, The Psalms in Israel’s Worship (Dearborn, MI: Dove, 2004). Mowinckel is perhaps most famous for using Psalms to reconstruct a Festival of Yahweh’s Enthronement.

[4] For example, the word translated as ‘place’ (yād) is also the word for ‘hand’; alternatively, it could refer to a commemorative monument, as in 2 Samuel 18:18. The word ‘name’ (šēm) can also refer to testimony or even seed (see Isaiah 55:13 and 66:22), thus in another interpretation the Lord here refers to setting up a commemorative monument in the temple for these people.

[5] John L. McKenzie, Second Isaiah (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1968), 178; emphasis added.

[6] For a discussion of ties between Eden and the temple found in the Book of Mormon, see Kevin Christensen, “The Temple, the Monarchy, and Wisdom: Lehi’s World and the Scholarship of Margaret Barker,” in Glimpses of Lehi’s Jerusalem, ed. John W. Welch, David Rolph Seely, and Jo Ann H. Seely (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2004), 449–522.

[7] Such a conception appears, for example, in Isaiah 6. The prophet sees the symbol of God’s glory fill the temple (verse 1), after which the seraphim cry, “the whole earth is full of his glory” (verse 3). See Jon D. Levenson, “The Temple and the World,” Journal of Religion 64, no. 3 (July 1984): 286, 289–90.

[8] For a discussion of Edenic imagery in the temple, see Jon D. Levenson, Sinai and Zion: An Entry into the Jewish Bible (New York: HarperCollins, 1985), 111–45, and G. K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press), 50–80.

[9] Testament of Adam 4:7, trans. S. Robinson, in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, ed. James Charlesworth (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 1:995.

[10] Although the biblical narrative does not specify where the serpent was located, it likely would have been in the temple, as many scholars hold; see Lowell K. Handy, “Serpent, Bronze,” in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 5:1117. Both New Testament and Book of Mormon authors connect Moses’ lifting up the serpent to Christ, but the serpent had many meanings in the ancient world. Given the abundant Eden imagery in the temple, as well as the ability of symbols to convey multiple meanings, it seems likely that the serpent would have been interpreted in connection with the Eden narrative as well.

[11] See Michael A. Fishbane, Biblical Text and Texture: A Literary Reading of Selected Texts (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 1998), 12.

[12] See Gary A. Anderson, “Biblical Origins and the Problem of the Fall,” Pro Ecclesia 10, no. 1 (Winter 2001), 20–21. Both Fishbane and Anderson also note the strong emphasis on Sabbath rest in the tabernacle account, just as in Genesis.

[13] See also Levenson, Sinai and Zion, 143–44.

[14] Ezekiel even names the temple altar harʾēl (Ezekiel 43:15), which was apparently understood as “the mountain of God.”  See Levenson, Sinai and Zion, 139.

[15] Richard Clifford, The Cosmic Mountain in Canaan and the Old Testament (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1972), 6; emphasis added.

[16] Take for example the Cylinder of Gudea, which describes the temple thus:

The house, mooring stake of the country,

grown up ‘twixt heaven and earth . . .

As the great mountain that it was,

the house abutted heaven,

shone, a very sun, in heaven’s midst.

“The Cylinders of Gudea,” B.i.1–2, 6–7, in The Harps That Once . . . Sumerian Poetry in Translation, trans. Thorkild Jacobsen (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987), 425.

[17] Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission, 82.

[18] For a discussion of the imagery used in Ezekiel and its connection to Adam, see Beale, Temple and the Church’s Mission, 75.

[19] H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, eds., Midrash Rabbah (New York: Soncino, 1983), 1:171; bracketed information in original. See also 1:130, where Adam is depicted offering sacrifice in Eden.

[20] Testament of Levi 8:5, trans. H. Kee, in Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 1:791.

[21] The only other occurrences of šmr and ʿbd together are in commands to the Israelites to guard and keep the commandments (about ten times). See Beale, Temple and the Church’s Mission, 67.

[22] Life of Adam and Eve 29:1–5, trans. M. D. Johnson, Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 2:285.

[23] See also Midrash Rabbah 1:130, as pointed out above.

[24] Midrash Rabbah 1:115. Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, an expansionistic Aramaic translation of the Pentateuch, states that God “brought dust from the place of the sanctuary, and from the four winds of the earth, and a mixture of all the waters of the earth” to form Adam (Genesis 3:7; my translation). Adam is also led into Eden “from the mountain of worship, the place from whence he had been created” (Genesis 2:15; my translation).

[25] Life of Adam and Eve 51:6–7 states that an angel appeared to Solomon and told him “where the place of prayer was where Adam and Eve used to worship the Lord God. And it is fitting for you to build the temple of the Lord, the house of prayer, at that place.”

[26] Jon Levenson and Kevin Madigan, Resurrection: The Power of God for Christians and Jews (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008), 89; emphasis added.

[27] Bruce H. Porter and Stephen D. Ricks, “Names in Antiquity: Old, New, and Hidden,” in By Study and Also by Faith, ed. John M. Lundquist and Stephen D. Ricks (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1990), 1:501.

[28] See, for example, the beginning of the Babylonian creation myth Enuma Elish, which describes the world before creation thus:

When skies above were not yet named

Nor earth below pronounced by name . . .

When yet no gods were manifest,

Nor names pronounced, nor destinies decreed.

The Epic of Creation 1.1–8, in Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, The Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others, ed. and trans. Stephanie Dalley (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989).

[29] Aside from the examples already cited of the priest delivering oracles on God’s behalf, presentation before the priest as a representative of God can also be seen in cases of judgment where the parties are to appear “before the Lord, before the priests” (Deuteronomy 19:17).

[30] Of course, all Israelite men were commanded to appear before the Lord three times a year, but it is only in this passage that explicit mention is made of everyone being present: “men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates” (Deuteronomy 31:12).

[31] The exact chronology of Eden is unclear. If we follow Joseph Smith and read Genesis 1 as spiritual creation and Genesis 2–3 as physical, then Adam’s naming of the animals would take place after day seven, as suggested above. If we follow those scholars who would attribute Genesis 1–2:4a and 2:4b–3:24 to two separate sources, then the relation of Eden to the seven creative days becomes much more problematic.

[32] ḥawwā and ḥay are associated with the root ḥyh “to live,” though not necessarily by derivation.